Edward W. Said Days 2019

© Akinbode Akinbiyi

March 14 - 16, 2019

Edward W. Said saw music as a way of embracing the contradictions of everyday life. It was central to his work as a scholar, and he used it as a way to describe the non-musical. For him, counterpoint—the combination of two or more musical voices that are harmonically interdependent, yet melodically and rhythmically independent—was a fundamental metaphor for describing life’s complexities. Join the Barenboim-Said Akademie in its yearly celebration of Said’s life and work: an interwoven exploration of counterpoint through lecture, concert, and discussion, curated by the Dean of the Akademie, Prof. Dr. Mena Mark Hanna.

The Program

Thursday, March 14: Displacement

To live in a place where you can never truly feel like you belong—this painful experience will be the focus of the first day of this year’s Edward W. Said Days. Mahdi Fleifel’s documentary film A World Not Ours examines a family’s permanently provisional existence in a refugee camp. In his lecture, Michael Wood focuses on the many oppositions and moments of harmony in literature and music. Finally, the sacred vocal music performed by the Tallis Scholars during their evening concert is suffused with the fervent hope of finding a secure place in the world.

Friday, March 15: Belonging - A Perpetual Loss 

The second day of the Edward W. Said Days will revolve around the idea of “belonging” as something that can never be possessed but can only ever be lost. In his exhibition, photographer Akinbode Akinbiyi focuses on the quest for harmony in exile. Sa’ed Atshan’s lecture will explore the perpetually conflicted situation of the Palestinian intellectual. In the evening, a concert by the Tallis Scholars and pianist Christoph Grund will make unlikely neighbors out of a famous Renaissance musician and a contemporary Palestinian-Israeli composer.

Saturday, March 16: A Strangeness Within Familiarity

On the final day of the Edward W. Said Days 2019, the focus will be on those disorienting moments when the seemingly familiar suddenly becomes strange and uncertain. In her lecture, writer Adania Shibli examines how the movement between different languages can reveal the inner tensions within the ostensibly adorable. The concluding concert featuring students of the Barenboim-Said Akademie explores the musical phenomenon of counterpoint through works by Bach, Verdi, and Bartók.